A Nation in Turmoil 

A Nation in Turmoil 

On Thursday, June 26, the streets of Nairobi were filled with a haunting smell of tear gas and the heavy presence of military personnel, a day after protesters stormed parliament over a controversial tax plan. The protests, which sought to defy the proposed Finance Bill 2024 that threatened to increase the cost of living, ended in tragedy with at least 22 lives lost, according to a human rights group.

The streets were unsettlingly quiet the following day, marked by the fear and uncertainty that had gripped the capital. The violence and loss have left the nation mourning and questioning: How did we get here? Why did the president choose to respond with such force? Could these deaths have been avoided?

President William Ruto, in a national address, labelled the protests as “treasonous” and declared them an “existential threat.” His stern words and vow to quash any unrest “at whatever cost” only served to heighten tensions. Many Kenyans, especially the youth who once rallied behind him, felt betrayed. Herman Manyora, a professor at the University of Nairobi, remarked that Ruto missed an opportunity to calm the nation and empathize with the young protesters. Instead, they saw an angry president who seemed more interested in issuing threats than seeking solutions.

Among the victims was a 19-year-old boy, shot dead while peacefully protesting. His mother, Edith Wanjiku, tearfully demanded justice, asking, “Why was my son killed for speaking out? Who will hold these police officers accountable?” Her grief echoed the sentiments of many families who lost their loved ones in the chaos.

Kenya’s social fabric is strained but not broken. The protests have united people beyond tribal and other divisions in a shared struggle against the rising cost of living. This movement, led predominantly by the youth, has shown remarkable resilience. Despite the fear and the tragic loss of lives, they remain determined to prevent the finance bill from becoming law.

The future is uncertain. Will the government heed the calls of the young people, or will it continue to respond with brute force? How many more lives will be lost before a resolution is reached? The nation watches and waits, hoping for a peaceful end to this turmoil.

Press Statement: Condemning Police Brutality and the Use of Live Bullets on Peaceful Protesters in Kenya

Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Condemns the recent tragic events that have unfolded in our nation. The use of excessive force by the police, including live bullets, tear gas, and rubber bullets against peaceful demonstrators is a blatant violation of human rights and an affront to the principles of democracy and justice.

The peaceful protests on Tuesday, where thousands of Kenyans gathered to voice their opposition to the controversial Finance Bill 2024 in more than 60 towns and cities spread over more than 35 Counties, were met with violent response from the State. The loss of lives, including more than twenty protesters and caregivers who were shot dead, and the hundreds injured, is a tragedy that could and should have been avoided. The killing orgy went into the night with Githurai residents being butchered in large numbers with over 100 shot over 30 of them fatally … one person, we are told had more than 45 bullet wounds! 

We unequivocally condemn the actions of the Kenyan police and the deployment of the Kenyan army to suppress citizens exercising their democratic right to protest. The storming of parliament by demonstrators is a sign of Kenyans taking back their sovereignty from frustration and anger at a government prioritizing embezzlement of taxpayers’ hard-earned money and over-taxation at the expense of the common mwananchi. 

President William Ruto’s address to the nation, wherein he labelled protesters as criminals and their demonstrations as treasonous acts, is deeply troubling. His speech where he misread the constitution, was marked by a distinct lack of empathy and a tone filled with anger, with a notably cold delivery that failed to address the legitimate concerns raised by protesters and other Kenyans. Such rhetoric only serves to escalate tensions and does not contribute to finding a peaceful and just resolution. We insist that this is an effort to consolidate his dictatorship. The government’s stance is a stark reminder of the urgent need for accountability and reform within our nation’s institutions. 

Furthermore, we stand with various media outlets who have faced threats for their coverage of the protests. The media plays a crucial role in holding power to account and informing the public. Any attempts to silence the press are unacceptable and must be vehemently opposed.

In light of these events, we demand the following:

  1. Immediate Cessation of Violence: The police and military must immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters.
  2. Independent Investigation: A thorough and independent investigation into the deaths and injuries caused by police action must be conducted, and those responsible must be held accountable.
  3. Protection of Media Freedom: The government must cease its intimidation of the media and ensure the protection of journalists covering the protests.
  4. Abolition of the Finance Bill: The government must listen to its people and do away with the controversial Finance Bill 2024 that has sparked widespread outrage and protests.
  5. Constitutional adherence: The government must observe and obey the Constitution in letter and spirit.
  6. All churches/mosques/religious places must commit not to entertain any politician to speak. If allowed all congregants to move out.
  7. All media houses to desist from inviting MPs to their stations.
  8. Kithure Kindiki must give us a list of all shooters and they be arraigned in court or he resigns. Police should not agree to be deployed to kill people. 

We call on the international community to stand with the people of Kenya in this critical time and to support efforts to ensure justice, accountability, and the upholding of human rights.

Kenya is a nation built on the ideals of freedom and democracy. It is imperative that we uphold these values and work towards a just and equitable society for all.


Kawive Wambua
Deputy CEO Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi! Ltd

Press Statement: The IGP & IPOA Must Produce and Charge Rogue Officers

The recent protests by Gen Z and Kenyans in general across the country, demanding for the rejection of the Finance Bill 2024, are an exercise of their rights and responsibilities as enshrined in Article 37 of the Constitution of Kenya. This article states that “Every person has the right, peaceably and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket, and to present petitions to public authorities.” That they wanted to Occupy Parliament is as a result of a representation failure: their Members of Parliament have failed to listen to them and therefore wanted to exercise their sovereignty, articulated in Article 1, directly.

This is their right. The protestors were also peaceful and orderly. On the Tuesday 18th June protest, police teargassed, violated, brutalized and sought to break up their protests. They further arrested more than 300 persons for ridiculous reasons and levelled frivolous charges on them – holding some of them overnight in dingy cells. The courts rejected these charges. On the Thursday 20th June protests, police lobbed teargas, deployed water cannons, brutalized and violated the protesters throughout the day. Data accessed from the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) indicate that at least 105 people were arrested: 20 in Nairobi, 2 in Garissa, 3 in Kisumu, 4 in Vihiga, 4 in Narok, 70 in Uasin Gishu (Eldoret) and 2 in Nakuru.

Another 200 individuals sustained injuries in Nairobi and Kisumu, ranging from fractures, and soft tissue injuries to severe rubber bullet wounds and tear gas inhalation. Furthermore, the confirmation of live shootings verified by spent cartridges points to negligence and unlawful action on the part of the police. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) who has the overall command responsibility, has not taken any action – a pointer that he gave those orders and therefore supports the brutalisation of Kenyans by rogue officers.

The Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA), which monitors and oversees the conduct of police officers has not done anything substantive as Kenyans suffer police brutality. We note that the recent IPOA statement on police conduct during the Finance Bill 2024 demonstrations [Ref. No. IPOA/CEO/PRESS/19 (25)] reveals a troubling pattern of systemic negligence and failure to uphold their mandate. Despite IPOA’s acknowledgement of Mr Rex Masai’s tragic death and numerous severe injuries during these protests, their response appears grossly inadequate. IPOA’s cursory call for restraint and vague commitments to impartiality starkly contrast with the harrowing realities on the ground. This discrepancy underscores a significant lapse in proactive monitoring, timely intervention, and rigorous accountability measures, which are fundamental to IPOA’s role. IPOA’s response remains tepid, reflecting a worrying complacency. This negligence not only betrays public trust but also perpetuates a culture of impunity within the police force. IPOA must urgently reassess its strategies, enhance its responsiveness, and enforce accountability to serve and protect the public interest truly.

In the evening of 20th June 2024 in Nairobi, a police officer was captured on video shooting a protester who was fleeing from tear gas. The protester, 29-year-old Rex Kanyike Masai, died from the gunshot wound. This was an execution – an insidious manifestation of extra-judicial killing. We demand justice for Rex Kanyike Masai. He was shot with a live bullet by an officer to whom he posed no threat. Section 61 (2) and Schedule Six of the National Police Service Act gives clear guidelines on when a police officer should use a firearm. None of these circumstances was obtaining. As such the officer has committed a crime and must be held accountable for it.

We demand that

  1. Japheth Koome, the IGP, must produce the killer officer and that the Directorate of Criminal Investigation charges him formally in a court of law for this crime. Failure to do so means that he has failed in his sworn duty and must resign immediately.
  2. IPOA must ensure that all other officers who have lobbed teargas, water cannons and/or violated the protesters in any other way are arrested and charged appropriately. If it is not able to do this, it should be disbanded forthwith.


Kawive, Wambua,
Deputy Executive Officer,
Inuka Kenya Ni Sisi!

Kenyans Rise Against High Taxes

Kenyans Rise Against High Taxes

Today, June 18, 2024, the heart of Nairobi beat with the footsteps of hundreds of determined Kenyans, clad in black, marching towards parliament. They came together in a powerful display of unity against President William Ruto’s proposed tax hikes. From millennials to Gen Zs, from men to the humble Mama Mboga, the streets echoed with their collective cry: “Hatuki hii Finance Bill.”

As the crowds gathered in Nairobi’s bustling business district, the message was clear. Signs waved high with the words “Do not force the taxes on us” and chants of discontent reverberated through the air. Among them was 29-year-old Rara Eisa, who captured the sentiment of many when she said, “I am tired. The prices of everything have gone up, life is no longer affordable

Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, the response from the authorities was swift and severe. Police officers lobbed tear gas into the crowds, dispersing the demonstrators and arresting at least a dozen. The scenes of chaos and the sight of black-clad youth fleeing the gas clouds highlighted the stark contrast between the citizens’ peaceful intentions and the government’s heavy-handed approach.

The protest, dubbed “Occupy Parliament,” was a coordinated effort, sparked by an activist’s leak of MPs’ contact details. This call to action urged citizens to bombard their representatives with calls and messages, demanding they shoot down the proposed Finance  Bill 2024. The bill includes contentious provisions like a 2.5 per cent motor vehicle tax and the reintroduction of VAT on bread and other essential commodities that would increase the cost of living.

President Ruto ascended to power in 2022 with promises to revive the economy and uplift the hustlers.  His policies, including increased income tax, higher health insurance contributions, and doubled VAT on petroleum products, have drawn sharp criticism. Analysts warn that these measures could stifle consumption and hurt the economy, but with a strong parliamentary majority, the bill is likely to pass.

However, the voices of the people cannot be ignored. Today’s protest was a testament to the power of unity and the will of the younger generations to fight for a better future. The sight of mama mbogas standing shoulder to shoulder with youth and professionals sent a clear message: the people of Kenya demand a government that listens to its citizens and addresses their concerns with empathy and fairness.

As parliament prepares to debate the final version of the bill before the June 30 deadline, today’s events serve as a stark reminder of the growing discontent within the nation. The people of Kenya have spoken, and their message is one of resistance against policies that threaten their livelihoods.

The protest highlighted a significant shift in the political landscape, with millennials and Gen Zs stepping up to take a stand. Their participation signals a new era of activism, where the younger generation is more engaged and ready to challenge the status quo. The energy and determination of these young Kenyans were palpable, transforming what could have been a routine day in the city into a powerful movement for change.

In the coming days, the government’s response will be critical. Will they continue to ignore the cries of their citizens, or will they engage in meaningful dialogue to address the economic hardships that so many are facing? The nation watches and waits, hoping for a resolution that acknowledges the struggles of its people and prioritizes their well-being.